IMAGE FROM BBC SPORT
QPR: Smithies, Onouha, Hall, Caulker, Bidwell, Henry, Luongo, Gladwin (Cousins 56), Chery (Perch 88), Shodipo (El Khayati 68), Polter
Leeds: Green, Berardi (Coyle 22), Bartley, Bamba, Taylor, Vieira, Diagouraga, Dallas, Grimes (Antonsson 61), Roofe (Sacko 75), Wood
You never know what you are going to get in the first game of the season with both of these teams. Leeds have only lost 3 of their last 27 opening games so it came as a shock to them as much as it did to QPR who have lost 4 of their last 5 opening games.
It didn’t take long for the excitement to start after QPR youth product Shodipo won a corner. Resultantly there was a scramble in the box which led to ball floating up above the goal line only for Robert Green, the ex-QPR player, to flap at it and allow Onouha to bundle in. At a closer look it seems to be an own goal by Bamba however Onouha pressure was the main cause of the goal. Green has to take full responsibility as it was his poor technique and strength that allowed Onuoha to apply the pressure.
This led to an onslaught of crosses coming in towards Polter right on top of Green as QPR felt he was a weak point in the Leeds side. Shodipo and Bidwell on QPR’s left flank were responsible for many of the dangerous crosses into the Leeds box.
On 22 minutes Coyle replaced Berardi for what seemingly was an injury however when walking down the tunnel Berardi looked dismayed and angry as he stormed off. It wasn’t a bad decision by Leed’s new manager Gary Monk as Coyle went on to be one of their best players on the pitch.
Leeds grew into the first half however did not manage to get a shot on target. QPR were good for their 1-0 lead.
Early in the second half QPR were lucky to still have 11 men on the pitch as previously booked Ben Gladwin brought down Vieira in a pretty strong challenge which undoubtedly if he had not been previously booked would have been a yellow. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was quick to replace him with Jordan Cousins.
IMAGE FROM WEST LONDON SPORT
Leeds played well in the opening 15 minutes of the second half but didn’t trouble Alex Smithies in the QPR goal due to rangers two stalwarts in defence, Grant Hall and Steven Caulker. Wood found it difficult on his own up front to dominate and create any clear-cut chances.
A swift move with Onouha passing into Cousins in the box led to the penalty as Vieira tackled from the wrong side. Cousins was definitely waiting for the contact on his heels and didn’t hesitate to go down when Vieira clattered into him however it was a penalty. Chery stuck the penalty past a diving Rob Green.
Both teams didn’t create much in the final 15 minutes however in nearly the last kick of the game Polter pushed Taylor of the ball before smashing in emphatically from a tight angle to put QPR into the promotion places.
Although early days the signs seem good for QPR as they together played as a group which they have not from recent years. Caulker and Hall seem to have a very good understanding which bodes well for the future as Caulker tries to reignite his career at QPR. Henry and Luongo also played off each other incredibly well as rangers fans saw a new defensive side to Luongo unlike his days at Swindon. Bidwell and Shodipo looked very dangerous down the left especially with Seb Polter running himself into the ground chasing their crosses and through balls. The main man however Tjarron Chery was unplayable and was truly worthy of his goal. He provided great link up play for Polter and tricked past Leeds players endlessly. Ben Gladwin was the only player not to make an impression as he felt more like a passenger in the game then anything.
Leeds had very few shining lights.Their new signing from league 2 Roofe looked dangerous and will cause problems for teams as he settles into Leeds. Grimes and Dallas looked dangerous but never troubled Smithies. Leeds’s best chances went to Antonsson however he failed on two occasions to score when he probably should have. Leeds didn’t look good today however they have a good manager in Gary Monk and will be safe again this season for a mid-table finish.
QPR – Smithies 6, Onouha 6, Hall 7, Caulker 7, Bidwell 7, Henry 7, Luongo 8, Gladwin 5(Cousins 56 7), Chery 8*(Perch 88 N/A), Shodipo 7(El Khayati 68 6), Polter 8
Leeds – Green 4, Berardi N/A (Coyle 22 6), Bartley 5, Bamba 5, Taylor 6, Vieira 5, Diagouraga 6, Dallas 6, Grimes5 (Antonsson 61 4), Roofe 6 (Sacko 75 N/A), Wood 6
*Man of the match
Article written by @GusSkinner